Percussion Musical Instruments
How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain
Playing music activates the brain. We know this from research that monitors the brain in real time using MRIs. While reading and math activate different parts of the brain, playing music activates multiple parts of the brain simultaneously: auditory, visual, and motor. The discipline and practice of music playing strengthen these functions, which can also be applied to other activities.
Listening and playing music differ in that playing requires fine motor skills, involving both hemispheres of the brain and thus combining right and left hemisphere brain activity. Playing music strengthens the link between these two sides and supports the theory that musicians solve problems more effectively and creatively.
Musicians also have a higher executive function and the ability to combine the cognitive and emotional aspects of thinking. In the same light, musicians have enhanced memory functions. This involves tagging memories conceptually, emotionally, and in terms of audio and context – analogous to a good internet search engine.
The various aspects of playing a musical instrument distinguish it from other sport and artistic activity, probably because of the greater combination of multiple brain areas.